Inquiring in the announced ‘of AppleApp tracking transparency‘Privacy Feature, a collaborative effort between researchers at privacy software maker Lockdown and The Washington Post has found that the privacy system is cracking down on them, most iPhone apps still collect (and transmit) Some user data.

From Apple App tracking transparency The feature allows iPhone users to control which apps can track their activity for ad targeting. When a user opens an app for the first time, they get the App Tracking Transparency Popup, which asks them if they want to “allow” the application in question to track them, or ask the application not to track them.

Tapping the “Ask app not to track” option is supposed to prevent the app from collecting your data and / or sharing it with third parties such as advertisers and data brokers. Testing ten popular iPhone apps on iOS 14.8 and the iOS 15 just releasedHowever, the research effort found that this was not the case.

In fact, the researchers found that even with the App Tracking Transparency statement to avoid tracking, the apps they tested were still communicating with third-party trackers, and the number of times they tried to transmit data to these trackers was only reduced by one. 13%.

Furthermore, the research uncovered another alarming fact: When instructed not to track the user, most of the apps tested resort to recording and transmitting a series of device-specific technical data points from the iPhone (volume, battery level, IP adress). , etc.) that can be combined to create a unique image of your device (and then track it) through a process known as a “fingerprint”.

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In the absence of a Unique iPhone Identification for Advertisers (IDFA), whose app tracking transparency prevents apps from getting, fingerprinting could be the best choice for user tracking.

Courtesy of The Washington Post, here is a complete list of data point applications like Subway surfers, Streamer Life!, and Run Rich 3D registered (and attempted to share with third parties) despite the efforts of App Tracking Transparency:

  • Device name (eg “John’s iPhone X”)
  • Accessibility settings: bold text
  • Accessibility Settings: Custom Text Size
  • Display settings: dark mode
  • Screen resolution
  • Time zone
  • Total storage space (byte precision)
  • Free storage space (byte precision)
  • Currency (eg “USD”)
  • IOS version
  • Audio output (for example, “Speaker” / “Bluetooth”)
  • Audio input (eg, “iPhone Microphone”)
  • Accessibility Settings: Closed Captions
  • Country
  • Mobile carrier name (eg, “AT&T”)
  • Country of the mobile phone provider
  • Last reset time (exact timestamp, second precision)
  • Calendar type (eg, “Gregorian”)
  • Enabled keyboards (eg, “English, emoji, Arabic”)
  • Current battery level (precision to 15 decimal places)
  • Current volume level (precision to 3 decimal places)
  • Accessibility settings: increase contrast
  • Current display brightness (precision to 15 decimal places)
  • Portrait / landscape mode
  • Battery charge status (eg “Plugged in”)
  • IPhone model (eg “iPhone X”)
  • Idiom
  • User agent (browser agent)
  • IP adress

The research effort was unable to discover exactly what this downstream data is used for; That’s a question that only the developer of an app collecting this data can answer.

“Apple believes that monitoring should be transparent to users and under their control,” company spokesman Fred Sainz told The Washington Post. “If we find that a developer is not respecting the user’s choice, we will work with the developer to fix the problem or it will be removed from the App Store.”

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the Mail He said that when they shared their findings with Apple, the iPhone maker said it would contact developers to find out more about the data that is still being collected. “After several weeks, nothing seems to have changed,” wrote the Mail.

What is certain, however, is that these findings are concerning to Apple, considering the Cupertino giant’s long-standing penchant for promote privacy as a key feature of the iPhone.

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